On the back corner of my house next to the electric box stands a Butterfly Bush. Truth be known, I originally planted it many years ago for a purpose. It was to help camouflage the ugly wires that come in the house. It didn’t really work the way I intended. For the Butterfly Bush grew tall and scraggly never really hiding much of anything. However, I left it alone because as unsightly as the rough branches are every year the end of those branches produces the most beautiful purple flowers with a scent that gives just a hint of their beauty. I marvel every year that this bush of wiry and unattractive branches seems to create such a show of beauty from above, which is usually how I view the bush. For most of the time, I am looking down at it from the back deck.
Staying Attached is Necessary for Life
Earlier this fall, we had several storms with strong winds come through our area from hurricanes that hit the shores south of us. One of these storms wreaked havoc with my Butterfly Bush. The wind took one of the unsightly limbs and with the twisting and turning released its pent-up anger causing the rough for wear branch to split. The bush laid sprawled on the lawn no longer upright. I thought for sure the beauty found at the end of this main vine limb would quickly die. The severed branch remained attached but truly splintered so that very little was left holding onto the main trunk. I tried to pick it up carefully, but it just flopped back exhausted and worn. It seemed the end was inevitable, but I decided to just give it some time.
It is now two months after that storm. And this past week, as I was out in the yard working, decided to check on the bush. I expected to need the pruners to remove what I just knew would be a huge dead section if not an entire dead bush. Imagine my surprise to find not only a living and producing bush but no dead limbs in sight. The split remains as rough and unsteady as before but the bush has found a way to flourish even barely attached to the main vine or trunk. It appears to have a new lease on life and it slowly gaining its posture again. The bush somehow hangs onto the main trunk. And because of its ever-clinging attachment, it continues to fulfill its purposeful beauty even though it went through some extremely rough and stormy weather.
The Purpose is Not in Understanding
This weekÂ we ask ourselves why, as more information comes forth about the devastation in Texas as families, community, and fellow Christians grieve over our brothers and sisters who lost their life last Sunday. We ask, how do we go on and how should we respond? But as I read the words of Pastor Frank Pomeroy, who lost his fourteen-year-old daughter in the horrific shooting, I had my answer. Pastor Pomeroy said, ”I don’t understand, but I know my God does.” Â As I read his words I thought about my Butterfly Bush. We go on because we remain in Him not because we can determine why. Understanding is not our purpose. But fulfilling our purpose always begins with following Christ. We cannot be all that we are to be without Him in our life. When we remain attached to Him no matter how weak of a hold that may be, we realize that it is only through Him that we live.
Our purpose is only fully vested when we remain with Christ. There are storms in life that can twist and turn us to the point that we feel we may break. But it is during these times that we must remain in Him, no matter the destruction that seems to surround us. For a lifeÂ severed from Christ has no purpose and it will not be everlasting. So, when we question life and don’t understand the whys that surround us it is then that we must not allow ourselves to become unattached for even in the weakness new life can form.
Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. John 15:4 (NLT)
It is the Only Way to Live
Staying close to Jesus like a branch attached to the vine is necessary to live. It is not only the way to live a good life but without doing so, your life and the efforts of it are meaningless. When you practice consistently to stay attached to the vine then when the storms blow in you can survive the turmoil even if hanging on by a thread.
To fully remain in Him begins by believing that Christ is the Son of God and receiving Him as such. Holding onto this faith while following the commands of God promises that you will not be separated from Him. It is this faith that will take you to the next level. So, hold tightly to your purpose in life never severing your belief in the Good News. This is what allows you to move forward. For even when you don’t understand the ways of God, you can fully know that He loves you. This allows you to move forward and give that love to others.
It all begins by placing Christ first in your life for without Him life is meaningless and unfulfilled. For in the end there simply is no life without Christ. So, challenge yourself to remain in Christ no matter the difficulties you may face. Allow your convictions to rule your life first and foremost. Find your motivation in knowing that you are living a life with purpose when you remain in and with Him. And lastly, surround yourself with the comfort of knowing that you are glorifying the creatorÂ when Christ is the center of your life. For those that remain attached will not be separated no matter the storms they may face.
Love in Christ,
Many years ago, the Associated Press released a study done by an agricultural school in Iowa. They reported that the vast production of 100 bushels of corn from one acre of land, in addition to the many hours of the farmer’s labor, required many things. These things consisted of 4,000,000 lbs. of water, 6,800 lbs. of oxygen, 5,200 lbs. of carbon, 160 lbs. of nitrogen, 125 lbs. of potassium, 75 lbs. of yellow sulfur and other elements too many to list. In addition, to these things, which no man can produce, rain and sunshine at the right time are critical. Estimates determinedÂ that only 5% of the produce of a farm can be attributed to the efforts of man.
The same can be said about the significant production of spiritual fruit from a human. Without God, there is no purpose and no real life. We must remain in Him to produce the life meant for us.
What are your thoughts?
Do you live a life of purpose? Have you weathered the storms because you held tightÂ determined to not sever yourself from the vine of Christ? Share your thoughts on remaining in Him even when you don’t understand your life and or the world.